Written by Cliff Kincaid
August 27, 2008
By Cliff Kincaid
Jon Meacham writes in Newsweek that Obama's mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was "a strong voice for racial justice" and political activist whose "writings on civil-rights and labor issues" had "prompted a McCarthyite denunciation by the House Un-American Activities Committee." Meacham is suggesting that Davis was the target of false allegations that he was a communist.
While he agrees that Davis was one of Obama's mentors, Meacham's handling of the communism angle is about as dishonest as it gets.
But at least the name of Frank Marshall Davis is finally getting into print in the mainstream media. It has taken months to get the truth out.
In the first place, as Meacham surely knows, Joseph McCarthy was a senator, not a congressman. The House committee had nothing to do with McCarthy. Second, Davis was identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), controlled and subsidized by the Soviet Communist Party and the KGB. As late as 1956, when he was called before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, Davis was still refusing to deny that he was a communist.
Wouldn't it be helpful if Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, would make an elementary effort to get the facts right? But that is too much to ask when the presidency is at stake and the media-backed candidate is trying to cover up his controversial background.
All of this is of no significance or consequence if you believe that communism has been a blessing to the planet. But the editors of the Black Book of Communism, which documents about 100 million dead from this philosophy, would disagree.
And with Russia back on the march, a candidate's connection to an agent and apologist for Soviet Russia might strike many people as decidedly newsworthy, especially when that candidate initially refused to condemn Russia for its invasion of Georgia.
In Time magazine, David Von Drehle is a bit more honest. "Like his friend Paul Robeson and others, Davis perceived the Soviet Union as a ‘staunch foe of racism' (as he later put it in his memoirs), and at one point he joined the Communist Party," he writes. Nevertheless, Drehle faults AIM for trying to paint a "radical" picture of Obama because of his association with Davis. He insists that "by the time they [Obama and Davis] met, Davis had been out of politics for decades, and ‘mentor' may exaggerate his role in the young man's life. Still, it's clear that Obama did seek advice from the old man and that what he got was undiluted."
It is not a "radical" picture we paint. It is one of closely associating with an agent of one of the bloodiest and most destructive political philosophies of human history.
One of the key facts that Von Drehle ignores is that Robeson, like Davis, had been a secret member of the Communist Party USA. Also, by the time they met, 1970, Davis was still active in a CPUSA front called the American Committee for Foreign Born. So he wasn't "out of politics for decades." There's no evidence that Davis, who died in 1987, ever stopped being a communist.
In any case, with these stories in Newsweek and Time, the six-month major media campaign to ignore the Obama-Davis relationship is finally over. The admissions of Davis's influence over Obama only confirm what we have been reporting since February.
Our challenge now, as it has always been, is to demand that they tell the truth-the full truth. Honest and objective journalism demands nothing less.
Of course, one big reason why they are finally acknowledging the basic truth is that Obama himself admitted that he had a relationship with Davis. The pressure was getting too big to ignore. Obama did this in the 40-page so-called "rebuttal" to the Jerome Corsi book, The Obama Nation. The disclosure was made in the context of claiming, as Meacham tries to do, that Davis was not a communist but only a civil rights activist. This is a blatant lie.
We demonstrated in a previous column that the article quoted by the Obama campaign, supposedly to prove that Davis was in favor of social and racial justice, actually included several references to his involvement in the CPUSA and its fronts. All of these points were carefully excluded from what the campaign provided to the media and the public.
The Newsweek and Time treatments, as inadequate and misleading as they are, actually represent a step forward. The Washington Post on Sunday ran a 10,000-word stunningly dishonest story about Obama growing up in Hawaii that completely ignored Davis's critical role. The author, David Maraniss, told us that he had concluded that even Obama had "hyped out of all proportion" Davis's influence over him! Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, insisted that Davis "did not play a role in really shaping Obama." He's covering up even more than the Obama campaign. This is pro-Obama media bias to a remarkable extreme.
Clearly, Meacham and Von Drehle don't buy Maraniss's fantasy view. While Meacham dealt with it carefully enough to shield Obama from the big questions, Von Drehle strayed off the reservation a bit. By letting it slip that Davis was a Soviet apologist, he may have generated some further interest in this story. Perhaps some readers may even venture to the AIM website to see what we have in fact been writing about Davis and Obama. It is not a pretty picture, which is why Obama covered up Davis's true identity in his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father. He obviously did not ever think that a writer for a CPUSA publication, possibly with inside information, would later identify the mysterious "Frank" as Frank Marshall Davis.
Judging by the increasing attacks on AIM and me personally for investigating this matter, we are getting too close for comfort. But we will not rest until all of the truth is told.
The relationship took on more concern when the London Daily Telegraph reported allegations that Davis was not only a communist but a sex pervert and pornographer, and that he smoked dope with Obama's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who had introduced Davis to Obama when the child was only nine years of age. Dunham and Davis were drinking buddies.
Obama admits doing drugs in his youth, and we know that Obama talks about sharing alcohol with Davis. Did he share drugs with him too?
Obama, of course, is not responsible for being put into close contact with this alleged child molester, alcohol abuser, and pothead. Obama's growing-up years were sad and tragic, especially with his black father taking off and his mother spending much of her time elsewhere. His grandparents tried their best to raise him. But his grandfather should never have turned Obama over to Davis.
Since Obama wants to be the president of the United States of America, with authority over domestic and foreign policies that will affect our daily lives, we have a right to know the nature of the Obama-Davis relationship and how it affected his personal life and political philosophy. The media should demand answers.
What we already know is not comforting. In addition to the sleazy atmosphere in Davis's home, where Obama would listen to his "poetry" and radical diatribes, Davis attempted to guide Obama's conduct in life. He told Obama, for example, that when he went to college he should not believe that [expletive deleted] about the American way of life. Obama, by his own admission, then attends socialist conferences and picks Marxist professors as his friends. Then he goes to Chicago and ends up in the arms of communists and socialists who advance his political career. Davis would have been proud.
It would be advisable for the Obama campaign to fully disclose all of the relevant facts about the Obama-Davis relationship. We need more, not less, information.
But it appears that the Obama campaign has launched a coordinated attack on those raising questions that the media won't touch. The pathetic and deceptive "rebuttal" to Corsi is one example of this. Another is the increasing appearance of "progressive" voices, mostly in the form of posted comments, on conservative-oriented websites. The AIM site, which is open for discussion, has not been immune to this kind of assault. The attacks don't usually dispute any facts but instead launch personal attacks on the authors of investigative pieces about Obama. Those who want a civil discussion of the legitimate points made in an article are also attacked. The campaign seems desperate, as if there is a feeling on the left that the media might eventually have to grapple with some of these issues, that Obama can't answer the questions himself, and that he has to be protected from even dealing with them.
At another level, the Obama campaign is now demanding the investigation and prosecution of a group, known as the American Issues Project, and one of its donors, because the organization is running an ad about Obama's friendly association with Bill Ayers, a major figure in the Weather Underground Communist terrorist organization. The Obama campaign insists that the group and the donor are operating illegally. The American Issues Project is vigorously defending itself.
Even here, in the case of this supposedly controversial ad, the complete truth is not being told. It refers to the Weather Underground, which engaged in bombings of the U.S. Capitol and other places, as an "American terrorist group" when it took direction from foreign communists in Hanoi and Havana and even had contacts with the Soviet KGB. An ad from the Obama campaign, in response, insists that Ayers was only a "radical," that Obama denounced Ayers' crimes, and was only eight years old when those crimes occurred. But Obama was an adult when he launched his political career in Ayers' home. At that point, there was no excuse for associating with Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, who was also a Communist terrorist.
"Some members of the group Ayers founded even went on to kill police," the ad said. This is true, but it is only part of the story. Dohrn herself was implicated in the bombing of a police station that killed a policeman. In addition, an FBI undercover agent in the organization has said that Ayers himself had knowledge of bomb-making and knew about Dohrn's role in planting the bomb killing the policeman in San Francisco. All of this was explained in our AIM Report, Blood On the Hands of Obama's Terror Associate.
Obama was only nine years old when he met Davis. But he spent eight or nine critical and formative years under his tutelage. The question, however, is not so much when he met Davis or Ayers but how much influence they had on him, and why, in the case, of Ayers, he would openly associate with and accept political support from him.
The key to understanding Obama's friendly relationship with Ayers is Davis. And we should know a lot more about Davis before this campaign is over. Most of the major media will stand in the way of full disclosure because they believe that the truth can only harm their favored candidate.